Today's post is not my usual health and wellness tip, but it does relate to health and wellness. Last night we were fortunate to hear Vandana Shiva speak at Wake Forest University. She was the keynote speaker in a series on the "Challenges and Realities of Feeding the World." She's such an inspirational speaker and leader, working tirelessly to drive home the importance of sustainable agriculture for feeding the world and for maintaining our health. She pointed out that all of the firsts in health problems begin in the US, then as our food culture has spread around the world, so have our health epidemics.
This morning I was saddened to learn that the GMO-labeling initiatives failed in both Oregon and Colorado. In Colorado, supporters raised just under $1 million dollars to spread the word while opponents spent $16 million to fight it. In Oregon, supporters were able to raise $20 but the opponents raised $20 million. For someone living in a processed food desert, I find myself saddened to know that the powers we are up against are so strong that even California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado cannot win. While it is the ancient story of David and Goliath, the problem is that right now Goliath is winning.
Vandana Shiva has such a good point when it comes to GMOs. On the one hand, those who are opposed to labeling say that there is no difference between conventional crops and GMO crops and, therefore, labeling is unnecessary. On the other hand, industrial agriculture insists that their GMO crops are different enough that they should have patents on them and own the right to control the seed. So which is it? Are they the same or different?
While I'm trying not to feel disheartened, I am reminding myself of why Dr. Shiva said she still has hope. First, she pointed out that the younger generation is rejecting the rhetoric of Big Ag; they see through the smoke and mirrors. Secondly, she sees that we keep trying, that those who care about the health of the planet - the whole planet, including people, animals, and the soil - continue to fight the fight. Last, she said that the evidence is so clear and, in the long run, it cannot be ignored and will prevail. So we must continue to fight the good fight, to speak out about the dangers - both to our physical health and to the environment - of industrial agriculture and that the alternative - small sustainable farms - is the solution.
If you have a few minutes, I recommend watching her speak about agriculture and sustainability: